Over the course of their last eight meets, the Sealy junior varsity girls’ squad has proven itself to be the best around, winning seven of those meets outright and finished 27th in the wide-open Friday Night Lights Meet that started this season.
Head coach Anthony Branch shared his pride in those girls and added their hunger for more.
“Extremely proud of the JV girls, had two girls step up, girls that are trying to get a varsity spot,” he said. “Going back to last year they’ve won seven of their last eight races.”
Hollie Brown paced the rest of the runners in the race, taking the top spot in 15:28 to get the Lady Tigers off on the right foot with a low score. Two more top-10 finishers in Hailey Artega (5th) and Rosa Alvarez (8th) kept things going with Jada Burton (16th) the next Sealy finisher.
Hattie Schalla’s 20th-place finish and Karla Merida’s 42nd-place spot rounded out the team score to 43, still a 25-point advantage over second-place Bellville.
On the boys’ side in the junior varsity division, the Tigers provided a lackluster performance in Branch’s eyes and he thinks they understood they could have done better as well.
“JV boys I think left a lot out there, it was a tough race with 12 teams and to finish third out of 12 is not bad but I even told them I think we left a lot out there,” he said. “We have two expectations; one of them is to be serious and work hard and we didn’t bring it, I think they can do better and they agreed.
“They are a hungry bunch and they’re getting there but they have to understand to focus on the little things and train to run your best on Saturdays,” Branch continued. “Every stride you’ve got to be locked in, if we do that, the results will take care of themselves.”
Still though, a fifth-place finish from Daniel Eschenburg and with Rudy Nava taking eighth, Sealy didn’t appear to be in that bad of shape. The rest of the Tigers finished like this: Colby Eschenburg (24th), Cody Prause (26th), Ike Konvicka (36th), Jacob Montoya (38th) and Brayden Ashorn (45th) to compile a team score of 83 points, just 24 points behind the champion Yes Prep Southeast.
“Our expectations are to win meets and they did last week but didn’t handle that success well,” Branch elaborated on his junior varsity boys squad. “I’m planning on them running well next week which will be a great challenge with a lot of tougher teams in Magnolia so we’re going to have to step up, no reason to not get PRs (personal records) next week.”
At the varsity level, Branch still only has two girls competing and Trinity Hall crossed the finish line first for the black and gold, taking 30th while Madison Manak came in 82nd.
“Proud with how Madison ran, Coral (Becerra) has a bit of an ankle injury but she’s already chomping at the bit to get back,” Branch said of his varsity girl runners.
On the boys’ side of things, two top-10 finishers, supplemented by two more top-30 runners, kept things close in the team competition. Vladimir Hernandez was the Tigers’ top runner, earning fourth with Xavier Olvera behind him in 10th. James Gassiott registered 17th and Daniel
Medrano 27th before Julius Aguilar (43rd) and Cameron Eschenburg (98th) rounded the Sealy team score to 97, 17 points behind the winning St. Thomas Episcopal Saints.
Overall, Branch was pleased heading to Magnolia’s Run the Dog Pound Meet but knows there’s still a little bit of work to get done before the teams really hit their strides.
“If we do the little things right, the outcomes we want will happen,” Branch said. “By the time they reach the finish line they should be spent. You’ve got to focus on the little things, every stride, not relaxing on the pace, that race they were relaxing not attacking the pace and that’s when opponents start to catch up.”